CRIP Researcher Publishes Collaborative Study on SARS-CoV-2 Variant

NIAID CEIRS | News

Hou YJ et al., SARS-CoV-2 D614G variant exhibits efficient replication ex vivo and transmission in vivo. Science. 2020 Dec 18;370(6523):1464-1468. doi: 10.1126/science.abe8499. Epub 2020 Nov 12. PMID: 33184236; PMCID: PMC7775736.

For the last several weeks, the news has been dominated not only by updates on the COVID-19 vaccine but also by a potential mutation in the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  There is significant public concern about this variant, which emerged in Europe several months ago and was named D614G, but little research has been published thus far.  A recent article in Science Magazine features a collaborative project between University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Wisconsin-Madison analyzing the effects of the mutation. 

CRIP researcher Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, representing the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was a critical contributor; he used mouse and hamster models to test replication and transmission of the viral variant.  The study identified that the mutation is capable of more rapid spread, which may be caused by its improved capability to replicate in the upper airway.  Despite the increased transmission capacity, D614G did not seem to cause more severe disease and remains susceptible to the same treatment and vaccine as the original SARS-CoV-2 strain.